There Is A Stand Off Between White Privilege & Democracy – Which Side Are You On?

In a statement by the President of the Ford Foundation For Social Justice, Darren Walker writes, “I have long believed that inequality is the greatest threat to justice—and, the corollary, that white supremacy is the greatest threat to democracy. But what has become clear during recent weeks—and all the more apparent yesterday—is that the converse is also true: Democracy is the greatest threat to white supremacy… Yes, the ideal of democracy is the greatest threat to the ideology of white supremacy; neither can long endure in the presence of the other. That is why today—and every day—we must renew our commitment to protect our democratic values and institutions from all enemies, foreign and domestic, especially those falsely disguised as patriots.”

I’ve been pondering this statement since I read it yesterday – “Democracy is the greatest threat to white supremacy.” Stop and take that in. Read it again.

If we claim to give every American a vote, if all votes are counted and respected, if every American has equal and fair access to the polls, if voter oppression and gerrymandering are staunched, if the white supremacy built into the electoral college was ever repealed, if corporate funding of politics was made illegal, if corruption in the government was systemically rooted out by voters, if the majority vote were to actually decide our leadership, white supremacy simply couldn’t survive the power of true democracy. Although white Americans still make up 60% of our population, at least 10% of those white people make up other marginalized groups that are harmed by white supremacy, and even more actually have morals, integrity, spiritual values, and a conscience that would guide them to vote for what is right over what might reward them personally. If democracy actually works in a utopian way- something that has never happened in this country- white supremacy is on its way out and will become a historical dinosaur.

So here we are in the midst of a national reckoning, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. As a country, as a government, what do we care more about, doubling down on white supremacy, or actually protecting our democracy?

Will We Double Down On White Supremacy – Or Will We Mature As A Country?

Even the most ardent upholders of white privilege in Congress wrestled with such questions today, and fortunately, enough people voted for impeachment to begin the process of holding a President who incited violent insurrection accountable. But it’s embarrassing how many Republicans still refuse to protect the very tenets of our democracy that it’s their job to protect. It must be grueling to face such polarization inside yourself- fighting to protect white privilege on the one hand but actually knowing you’ve taken an oath to uphold democracy on the other- and realizing that the two are at odds. One of the two is likely to die soon. Either white supremacy will come tumbling down- taking a lot of white privileges with it- or our democracy will be torn apart by those who will pick up guns and fight to protect white (mostly male) supremacy.

I can only hope there will be a crisis of conscience in our government leaders- in Congress, in Vice President Pence, in the military who will be called in to protect President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris at the inauguration, in our Supreme Court. May we be wide awake in the midst of this democratic crisis and choose as a nation- once and for all- which we value more- white privilege or democracy.

Democracy is in my prayers today, as is every marginalized or disadvantaged person who has not been privy to the privileges others in this country have enjoyed at the expense of the marginalized. I can only imagine how painful it must be to watch what is happening in Washington if you’re a Black woman or an ACLU lawyer or a Holocaust survivor or a Civil Rights activist who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. so many years ago.

To those who will chastise me for being “divisive,” yes, it’s true. There is a right side of history here and we cannot simply agree to disagree about human rights, morality, social justice, and empathy. No matter what excuse you offer to justify supporting Trump and his fellow insurrectionists, if you uphold your white privilege over protecting our democracy, you will have blood on your hands, just as if you refuse to wear a mask, you are personally responsible for spreading a deadly pandemic that harms the marginalized far more than it harms those with a plethora of privileges.

Trump Is Not A Light Worker

If after all this, you still think Trump is a lightworker and he’s here to save us from those Democrat pedophiles, you’ve been lied to and brainwashed. It’s time to actually wake up from the fever dream and engage in REAL spiritual action. This requires getting messy and saying I’m sorry and facing reality and holding yourself and others accountable for the harm QAnon, Proud Boys, Trump Republicans, and conspiracy theorists have done to our nation. We must take a stand and do what we must to transform our nation and protect it from an actual conspiracy to overthrow democracy- STAT. I am not seeking to shame anyone; just to clarify the facts and hope those who believe the lies snap out of their delusions. I understand that delusional, conspiratorial thinking is a trauma response, but I only hope half our country will see a therapist and get the help they need.

No matter what excuse you use to justify the vile behavior of those who are seeking to overthrow our government, you will be judged for your actions, just as the world judged those who sided with the Nazis and justified killing Jews. When Germany faced a similar crisis, the Germans were divided too- between those who sided with Hitler or stayed silent and complied versus those who risked their own lives to hide Jews. If you don’t think the stakes are equally high in this country right now, you don’t understand history.

Let’s Pray The Devil Back To Hell

So yes, there is a divide in our country, and just to be clear, I intend to use my white female power, privilege, and platform to stand for democracy, in solidarity with Black and Indigenous People of Color, Jewish people, LGBTQIA+, women with less power and privilege than me, the socio-economically disadvantaged, immigrants, and anyone who has been harmed by those who have privileges others might not have. I invite you all- especially those who identify as “spiritual white women”- to join me in this stand- and to do what is right, even if it means taking risks or making sacrifices. The men are not going to figure this out. Just as the spiritual women of Liberia joined together to “Pray The Devil Back To Hell” (watch the documentary), we women must rise.

May we all show up to use our platforms, our influence, our free speech, our compassionate feet in action, our votes, our peaceful protests, our non-violent civil disobedience, our creativity, our empathy for the marginalized, and our pride in the utopian democracy this country still has yet to realize. Time’s up. Anyone who isn’t actively taking a stand for equal rights and ending oppression of the marginalized is standing with the oppressors. Silence is violence. If you have conflict-avoidant parts that can’t handle taking a stand, please get trauma treatment so you can recover from the misguided idea that peace is the same thing as false equivalencies and “it’s all good.” It’s not all good. What’s happening right now in our country is treason.

We need all hands and open hearts on deck. Please, let us do what we must to open the collective heart. I hope someone is organizing something akin to the Women’s Marches of 2016. If as many white women showed up in solidarity with the marginalized as showed up to express our disgust in Donald Trump, we could reverse the tide and protect our democracy. Black Lives Matter. Indigenous Lives Are Precious. Jewish People Must Be Protected. LGBTQIA+ People Deserve Equality. BIPOC Women’s Rights Matter. Immigrants Deserve Equal Rights. How will we possibly protect all these human rights unless we organize together and protect our marginalized and vulnerable by keeping democracy alive in our country?

We Cannot Have Unity Until We Have Accountability (+ White Supremacy Isn’t The Elephant In The Room; It IS The Room)

Brené Brown’s latest podcast beautifully sums up everything I’ve been far too wordy in trying to express in my last few blog posts, namely that:

  1. Dehumanizing ANYONE (including dehumanizing those who dehumanize others) is never the solution
  2. We will never heal and unify until the perpetrators of white supremacy, violence, and other dehumanizing or disrespectful behaviors are held accountable for their behavior, so stop saying, “We just need to forgive and move on”
  3. Shaming others to try to change them works 0% of the time. What does work is holding them accountable while extending humanizing empathy and allowing them to feel their own shame when they hurt others, so they can have the opportunity to have an opening of the heart, paving the way for truth and reconciliation, without which we will never have peace or unity. Also, if you feel shamed because someone else is calling you out for saying or doing something that hurts people, don’t blame the person who is standing for what’s right. If you feel shame, change your behavior. That’s what the emotion of shame is meant to evoke in us. (Read more about working with healthy shame in yourself here).
  4. We have no idea how to hold people accountable when they behave badly. Prison certainly doesn’t work, at least not in the US. We could learn a thing or two from Norway. So we’re in the space between stories, where new culture can be created.
  5. The problem in the US right now is that white supremacists and others who dehumanize the marginalized have been emboldened to believe that they won’t be held accountable for dehumanizing those who are not white or otherwise privileged. We need to make this not true. Accountability includes accepting the natural consequences of your choices. [Lissa’s footnote: So if you’ve hurt others because of your conspirituality or refusal to cooperate with public health guidelines or other behaviors that harm others, there need to be consequences so you feel the impact of your bad choices- from inside yourself, not because others are shaming you or dehumanizing you. And… there also needs to be a safe way to off-ramp from those beliefs, so those who went down the rabbit hole can safely be reintegrated into the wholeness of humanity after we’ve rumbled withholding ourselves and each other accountable.]

Let’s keep American democracy in our prayers today, and let’s pray not to restore it to how it was, but to overhaul it all together so it applies equally to all Americans, not just the privileged.

*If you’re looking for a safe place to wrestle with the emotions of all this chaos, and if you’re interested in not only healing trauma but also in ramping up your creativity, join Healing With the Muse. [Sliding scale is available so anyone who needs this can be included.]

*A BOUNDARY: To those who tell me to “stay in my lane” and focus on holistic health, I’m a doctor who is an expert on Sacred Medicine healing and mind-body medicine, and the collective trauma of white supremacy and social injustice is a public health crisis that impacts the health of everyone. So please don’t tell me that political action, spiritual practice, social justice activism, and trauma healing aren’t related to the health of the individual and collective human body and psyche. If you don’t agree with what I say, please, dear God, do not email my poor staff. You can simply unsubscribe.